Posts Tagged ‘iPhone iPad’


Dell Quietly Announces 7″ Android Tablet

by Devin Coldewey

I wouldn’t even say they announced it. Apparently Michael Dell just casually mentioned it at Oracle-related conference. Of course, we already knew there would be larger versions of the streak. What I don’t understand is why they released the tiny version first, and not a larger version with wider appeal?

At any rate, no other information was released, other than that it would also run Android. I think we can safely assume it’s going to simply be a larger version of the Streak, but perhaps with the “phone” aspect slightly downplayed, since holding even a 5″ tablet to your head to make a call is pretty ridiculous.



The iPad Web Design & Development Toolbox

David Appleyard on May 6th
A few months ago, we published a set of resources for iPhone developers, covering a huge range of different types of resource. From podcasts and conferences to design kits and frameworks.

Today we’re doing something similar, but specifically with designing websites for the iPad in mind. It won’t be quite as extensive (let’s face it, the iPad is still fairly new!), but should offer a brilliant set of resources for developing a browser-based site or application for Apple’s latest gadget.

Getting Started

The main focus of this article relates to designing websites for the iPad. The entry barrier to this type of development is virtually non-existant.

That said, if you’re wanting to develop a native application, there’s a considerably more complex process. As with the iPhone, you’ll need to enrol on the iPhone Developer Program. This gives you full access to all Apple’s resources, the SDK, and the latest beta builds of the software for your iPhone and iPad.

You can either register for free if you’d like just the basic access to Apple’s SDK, or pay $99 per year to have the ability to test applications on your iPad itself, and submit them to the App Store.

Once you’ve done one of the above, you’re ready to get started! Download the SDK, and take a look at our iPhone developer tookbox for a whole range of resources that are still perfectly suited to iPad development.

Apple’s Resources

Though focused primarily on native app development, Apple do have a few great documents that relate to web design – or interface design in general. These make for a good initial port of call:

  • Preparing Your Web Content for iPad – This article talks through details of the user agent code for Mobile Safari on the iPad, why you should use W3C standard web technologies instead of plug-ins (Flash is, of course, not supported), and how you should modify CSS code previously targeting the iPhone. There are also a few useful tips relating to the challenges of developing for a touch device – there’s no hover or mouse-over state, for instance.
  • Human Interface Guidelines – This is a mammoth document, and essentially outlines Apple’s “best practices” for designing iPad interfaces. Although primarily aimed at native apps, if you can implement these standards in your web application you’ll be on the road to offering a great experience for the user.
  • Safari Web Content Guide – A guide on how to ensure your web design works well in Safari (whether on the desktop, iPhone, or iPad), and tips on extra events and handlers you can use with the touch interface.

Interface and Wireframing Design Kits

One of the most important things to consider when designing for the iPad is how you’re going to structure the interface of your application. It’s all about touch, and it needs to be obvious for the user as to how and when to interact with your website or web application.

Wireframing your design from an early stage is a great move, and there are a few handy resources below:

  • iPad Wireframe EPS – A great illustrator file that provides everything you need to create accurate wireframes for the iPad. The rest of Sarah’s blog is pretty brilliant as well, and she’s an incredibly talented interface designer.
  • iPad Stencil Kit – Something a little bit different, this metallic stencil kit is perfect for wire framing on paper (often the best place to start). There are also kits available for the iPhone if you’d like to try them out.
  • iPad GUI PSD – For the actual iPad interface elements themselves, this PSD kit is one of the best options to experiment with. It contains everything from buttons to toolbars and pop-over windows.

General iPad Design Articles

For general design principles, we’ve rounded up a few other articles below that will give you a little guidance:

  • Design Tips for Your iPad App – The tips shared here aren’t just relevant to the iPad, but design in general. Focus on knowing who your user is, keep it minimal, and experiment with every orientation.
  • Ember’s iPad Category – Ember is packed with iPad interface screenshots, snippets and information. Browsing through here will give you no end of ideas for designing something that looks great.
  • Designing for iPad: Reality Check – A fantastic, rambling, in-depth article looking at all manner of different design aspects. From typography to interaction, there are some really interesting thoughts here.
  • How iPad Affects the Way we Design Websites? – Another fairly general walkthrough of a few design decisions that you might want to make.
  • Quick and (not so) Dirty iPad User Testing – A fun look at how you can emulate the experience, size, and feel of the iPad if you’re yet to purchase one but still want to perform some testing.

Developing and Coding

From a technical point of view, you’ll need to detect that a reader is using an iPad in order to show them a particular version of your site. You’ll also want to know all about the interesting things you can do on an iPad that aren’t possible on the desktop!

Here are some great pieces of advice:

  • iPad Detection using PHP and JS – Three code snippets are offered here, to detect the iPad using PHP, JavaScript, or a .htaccess file. This lets you easily redirect the user to a different design (be sure to let them easily view the original site though!)
  • iPad Orientation CSS – Unfortunately, you can’t pick up your computer monitor and turn it portrait. You can with the iPad, and it’s important to have CSS that accommodates both orientations. These rules will let you do just that.
  • Detecting Device Size and Orientation in CSS – A slightly more in-depth look at how you can target the iPad using CSS.
  • iPad Web Development Tips – Working through a number of different CSS/JS techniques, and explaining why the browser really isn’t all that different from the desktop.

Dealing with WordPress

Optimising your WordPress theme for the iPad is something you might like to consider, but fortunately there usually isn’t too much that you have to do. Generally speaking, your beautifully crafted theme will probably look fine on the iPad out of the box (assuming it looks good in Safari on OS X).

This short article covers a few things you might like to consider, and it’s also worth taking a look at a plugin called WP-UserAgent if you’re wanting to detect if a reader is using an iPad.

Of course it’s also worth mentioning the WordPress app for the iPad, which is far more usable than the iPhone equivalent.

Hiring a Developer

Of course, you may find that it simply doesn’t make sense to develop a website, and a native application is the best way to go. Luckily, there are a range of different sites that can help to make the process of finding a developer remarkably straight-forward.

We covered all these in our recent iPhone developer post, and you can find the full list at the bottom of the article.

Remember to check out a variety of previous work to gain a strong idea of quality before hiring anyone in particular!

Share Your Tips!

Are there any other handy links, resources, and tips you’ve picked up about developing for the iPad? I’d love to hear them in the comments below – feel free to share!



The App Store Now Counts 4,870 iPad Apps

by Leena Rao @TechCrunch
App store analytics startup Distimo has taken a deep look at Apple’s App Store today. The number of iPad apps are growing rapidly since the release of the device nearly a month ago, with the App Store now counting 4,870 iPad apps. That’s a 32.7% increase in apps over the past two weeks. To break down the stat further, there are now 3,437 iPad-specific apps, with 1,433 universal apps that work on both the iPad and iPhone. You can download the report here.

Unsurprisingly, the largest application category on the iPad is Games with 1,577 titles (32%), followed by Entertainment and Books with 455 and 396 titles, respectively. From the launch of the iPad, gaming apps dominated the iPad App Store.

In terms of pricing, the iPad is still seeing the majority of its nearly 5000 apps as paid offerings. Of the 186,414 applications in the Apple App Store for iPhone, 73% are paid, while 80% of the 4,870 applications in the Apple App Store for iPad are paid. An application in the Apple App Store for iPhone costs $3.82 on average, as opposed to $4.67 in the Apple App Store for iPad.

In fact, on the Apple App Store for iPad, Medical and Finance applications are the most expensive at $42.11 and $18.48 on average, respectively. This is significantly more than the average price for applications in these categories on the Apple App Store for iPhone ($10.74 and $5.74).

Steve Jobs wrote in a post yesterday that there are now 200,000 apps in the app store, but Distimo evaluated these numbers as of April 26, which could account for the discrepancy in the number of total apps. Of course, we expect the app store to continue to grow steadily as developers flock to the platform. In fact, there are still any major apps missing from the iPad, such as those for Facebook and Foursquare.



Decoding Steve Jobs’ Dressing Down Of Flash

by MG Siegler on Apr 29, 2010 @TechCrunch

Steve Jobs doesn’t blog often, but when he does, it’s always entertaining. Today, Apple’s CEO has taken the time to write a 1,700 word post about why Apple (or perhaps more precisely, he) doesn’t like Adobe Flash. And why Apple doesn’t support it in new products. And more importantly, why Apple won’t support it in new products.

The post is full of great quotes (whether you agree with them or not). Jobs both directly or indirectly rips Adobe at least two dozen times. It’s hard to imagine anyone at a company, let alone the CEO, doing that. Sure, Adobe has a few times over the past several months, but that’s only because they’ve had the rug swept out from under them. And those public responses are probably the exact reason we’re seeing this response from Jobs. Here are some of the choice quotes from Jobs’ piece and a rough translation of what Jobs likely really means (just in case it’s not clear enough).

Since that golden era, the companies have grown apart. Apple went through its near death experience, and Adobe was drawn to the corporate market with their Acrobat products.

Translation: Two roads diverged…

Today the two companies still work together to serve their joint creative customers – Mac users buy around half of Adobe’s Creative Suite products – but beyond that there are few joint interests.

Translation: Despite some calls for Adobe to boycott Apple, this won’t happen because they need the Mac users buying CS. In fact, that’s the only thing we still have in common.

Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true.

Translation: Adobe are running their mouths because they’re being defensive — the fact is they can’t cut it technology-wise. The “open” framing of their argument is laughable. And they need to shut up.

Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary… By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.

Translation: No translation needed.

Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards.

Translation: Apple has the best of both worlds. An OS we can completely control for the great user experience, and the web for those who want to go outside the sandbox. Adobe only has the sandbox.

HTML5, the new web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins (like Flash). HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member.

Translation: This is reference 1 to the others who support a move beyond Flash. Also a reminder: Flash is proprietary.

Apple even creates open standards for the web. For example, Apple began with a small open source project and created WebKit, a complete open-source HTML5 rendering engine that is the heart of the Safari web browser used in all our products. WebKit has been widely adopted. Google uses it for Android’s browser, Palm uses it, Nokia uses it, and RIM (Blackberry) has announced they will use it too. Almost every smartphone web browser other than Microsoft’s uses WebKit. By making its WebKit technology open, Apple has set the standard for mobile web browsers.

Translation: Back to that “open” argument: we made an open technology, WebKit, which all the major mobile players besides those idiots at Microsoft are now using. This is reference 2 to the others who are supporting technology beyond Flash.

Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access “the full web” because 75% of video on the web is in Flash. What they don’t say is that almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads.

Translation: That is bullshit Adobe spin.

YouTube, with an estimated 40% of the web’s video, shines in an app bundled on all Apple mobile devices, with the iPad offering perhaps the best YouTube discovery and viewing experience ever. Add to this video from Vimeo, Netflix, Facebook, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN, NPR, Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, People, National Geographic, and many, many others.

Translation: Reference 3 to the others in support of the move beyond Flash.

Another Adobe claim is that Apple devices cannot play Flash games. This is true. Fortunately, there are over 50,000 games and entertainment titles on the App Store, and many of them are free. There are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world.

Translation: It’s true, but who cares? We have more games, and they’re better.

Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009.

Translation: Use at your own risk.

We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.

Translation: If you see a bug, squash it. We have going forward.

In addition, Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it.

Translation: Adobe had the chance to put up — they couldn’t — so now it’s shut up time.

Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath.

Translation: Vaporware. Related: did you catch my sarcasm?

Many of the chips used in modern mobile devices contain a decoder called H.264 – an industry standard that is used in every Blu-ray DVD player and has been adopted by Apple, Google (YouTube), Vimeo, Netflix and many other companies.

Translation: Reference 4 to the others in support of the move beyond Flash.

Although Flash has recently added support for H.264, the video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software.

Translation: Too little, too late.

When websites re-encode their videos using H.264, they can offer them without using Flash at all. They play perfectly in browsers like Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome without any plugins whatsoever, and look great on iPhones, iPods and iPads.

Translation: Reference 5 to the others in support of the move beyond Flash.

Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers… Most Flash websites will need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices. If developers need to rewrite their Flash websites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?

Translation: Flash is a technology of yesteryear. The future is now. If you’re going to support the future, why code for the past?

Besides the fact that Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn’t support touch based devices

Translation: A reminder up until this point of why Flash sucks.

We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform.

Translation: If you build iPhone apps using Flash, they’re going to suck. More importantly, they hold everyone else back. So we’re blocking them.

This becomes even worse if the third party is supplying a cross platform development tool. The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of their supported platforms.

Translation: We’re not going to let Adobe, or anyone else, hinder our development.

It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross platform apps.

Translation: We want “best” they want “most”.

And Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms. For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.

Translation: Again, Adobe is stuck in yesteryear. With Flash it will be the same.

Everyone wins

Translation: Everyone wins — except Adobe.

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice

Translation: The iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad are the future. The PC and Flash are the past.

The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content.

Translation: Have I mentioned how many others are supporting a move beyond Flash? Just to make it clear, I’ll use “avalanche” this time.

And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.

Translation: And here’s a new juicy stat as a thank you for reading this entire post. Also, remember to forget about Flash games.

New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.

Translation: Just to add insult to injury, while you may have the PC market locked down, that one day too will shift beyond Flash. Maybe you should get your house in order before it collapses. Also, shut up.

As I’m well aware, sometimes it feels good to get a nice big rant off your chest. That’s exactly what Steve Jobs did today. Sometimes, three-word cryptic emails can only go so far. Sometimes you need to really spell it out to people. And sometimes you need to post a giant link to it on one of the most-trafficked sites in the world.



Thoughts on Flash??

Apple has a long relationship with Adobe. In fact, we met Adobe’s founders when they were in their proverbial garage. Apple was their first big customer, adopting their Postscript language for our new Laserwriter printer. Apple invested in Adobe and owned around 20% of the company for many years. The two companies worked closely together to pioneer desktop publishing and there were many good times. Since that golden era, the companies have grown apart. Apple went through its near death experience, and Adobe was drawn to the corporate market with their Acrobat products. Today the two companies still work together to serve their joint creative customers – Mac users buy around half of Adobe’s Creative Suite products – but beyond that there are few joint interests.

I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true. Let me explain.

First, there’s “Open”.

Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.

Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards. Apple’s mobile devices all ship with high performance, low power implementations of these open standards. HTML5, the new web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins (like Flash). HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member.

Apple even creates open standards for the web. For example, Apple began with a small open source project and created WebKit, a complete open-source HTML5 rendering engine that is the heart of the Safari web browser used in all our products. WebKit has been widely adopted. Google uses it for Android’s browser, Palm uses it, Nokia uses it, and RIM (Blackberry) has announced they will use it too. Almost every smartphone web browser other than Microsoft’s uses WebKit. By making its WebKit technology open, Apple has set the standard for mobile web browsers.

Second, there’s the “full web”.

Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access “the full web” because 75% of video on the web is in Flash. What they don’t say is that almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads. YouTube, with an estimated 40% of the web’s video, shines in an app bundled on all Apple mobile devices, with the iPad offering perhaps the best YouTube discovery and viewing experience ever. Add to this video from Vimeo, Netflix, Facebook, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN, NPR, Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, People, National Geographic, and many, many others. iPhone, iPod and iPad users aren’t missing much video.

Another Adobe claim is that Apple devices cannot play Flash games. This is true. Fortunately, there are over 50,000 games and entertainment titles on the App Store, and many of them are free. There are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world.

Third, there’s reliability, security and performance.

Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009. We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.

In addition, Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?

Fourth, there’s battery life.

To achieve long battery life when playing video, mobile devices must decode the video in hardware; decoding it in software uses too much power. Many of the chips used in modern mobile devices contain a decoder called H.264 – an industry standard that is used in every Blu-ray DVD player and has been adopted by Apple, Google (YouTube), Vimeo, Netflix and many other companies.

Although Flash has recently added support for H.264, the video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software. The difference is striking: on an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained.

When websites re-encode their videos using H.264, they can offer them without using Flash at all. They play perfectly in browsers like Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome without any plugins whatsoever, and look great on iPhones, iPods and iPads.

Fifth, there’s Touch.

Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers. For example, many Flash websites rely on “rollovers”, which pop up menus or other elements when the mouse arrow hovers over a specific spot. Apple’s revolutionary multi-touch interface doesn’t use a mouse, and there is no concept of a rollover. Most Flash websites will need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices. If developers need to rewrite their Flash websites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?

Even if iPhones, iPods and iPads ran Flash, it would not solve the problem that most Flash websites need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices.

Sixth, the most important reason.

Besides the fact that Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn’t support touch based devices, there is an even more important reason we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. We have discussed the downsides of using Flash to play video and interactive content from websites, but Adobe also wants developers to adopt Flash to create apps that run on our mobile devices.

We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.

This becomes even worse if the third party is supplying a cross platform development tool. The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of their supported platforms. Hence developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features. Again, we cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms.

Flash is a cross platform development tool. It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross platform apps. And Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms. For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.

Our motivation is simple – we want to provide the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers, and we want them to stand directly on the shoulders of this platform and create the best apps the world has ever seen. We want to continually enhance the platform so developers can create even more amazing, powerful, fun and useful applications. Everyone wins – we sell more devices because we have the best apps, developers reach a wider and wider audience and customer base, and users are continually delighted by the best and broadest selection of apps on any platform.

Conclusions.

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.

New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.

Steve Jobs
April, 2010




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